Impacts of climate change on water resources management - Regional strategies and European view


Regarding climate projections prepared by the IPCC, changes in precipitation and temperature are expected in Europe and thus impact regional water availability. Moreover, changes in water consumption in various sectors due to climate change pose an additional challenge to water management schemes.

Hence, the main goal is to analyse the impact of climate change on freshwater resources and how this affects the WFD and its instruments (river basin managements plans, programmes of measures). The results will be used to develop integrated measures for good freshwater management.

The Primary objectives of our research are:

  • Elaboration of quantitative projections of changes in river flows and consequences such as flood frequency, drought occurrence and sectoral water uses.
  • Analysis of the effect of climate change on the hydromorphological reference conditions of rivers and therefore the definition of “good status”.
  • Definition of management rules/strategies concerning dam management and irrigation practices on different time perspectives.
  • Investigation of uncertainties in climate model – scenario combinations.

Our research approach will consider both, a European perspective as well as a regional perspective.


CESR is mainly involved in the work packages WP1 and WP3.

The aim of WP1 (Climate scenario selection and European modelling) is threefold: 1) to set the framework for the whole project, 2) to select appropriate climate change input and 3) to perform the European modelling on current and future water resources. The tool to be used at the European scale is the WaterGAP model (Water – Global Assessment and Prognosis4) on a 5 by 5 arc-minutes resolution. The main aim in using WaterGAP in this project is to give an overall view of continental water resources under changing climate and socio-economic developments.

In WP3 (Cross-case and cross-scale comparison and integration) we want to create an integrative view by combining modelling outcomes from the European and case study scales. The impacts of integrated scenarios on the hydrological situation and water demand will be analysed through cross-case (Weser-Seine-Apulia) and cross-scale (continental – region – basin) comparison. The main emphasis of this comparison is to distinguish management strategies and adaptation measures that are relevant for a larger area than just one case study.